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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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February 27, 2003     Hays Free Press
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February 27, 2003
 

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FEBRUARY 27, 2003 VOL. 30 NO. 8 BY BILL PETERSON Editor HAYS CISD - The turnout raised eye- brows all by itself. Nearly 3,700 vot- ers went to the polls for Saturday's Hays CISD bond election, an increase of almost 85 percent from the 2001 bond election turnout of 2,009. But if the turnout raised eyebrows, the result had observers rubbing their eyes. Voters shouted down Saturday's $105 mil- lion school bond by a margin of nearly two-to-one, with 1,281 voting in favor of the bond and 2,406 voting against it. The school district had asked for $104.5 million in bonding authority to make possible the construction of two ele- mentary schools, a middle school, the completion of Lehman High School, the completed renovation of Hays High School and several other improvements. Opponents of the bond argued for the last two months that uncertainty in the economy spoke to the prudence of voting against the bonds. In addition, opponents expressed concern about uncertainty as to how the legislature will equalize school funding, especially now that the House Public Education Committee is recom- Hays Bond Defeat, pg. 3 Li II Bill Mears; Kyle Librarian, in his natural habitat. (photo by Bill Peterson) BY BILL PETERSON Editor I YibLE-Bill Mears knows raries. Every kind of library. Now that Mears has done his first four months as the librarian at the Kyle Public Library, Mears can say that. Two years into retirement after 25 years as the Director of Libraries at Southwest Texas State, Mears is working in his first public library. And he's liking the differ- ence between academic libraries and the public library quite a lot. "Of all the jobs I've had, I think this is the best ever," Mears said. "Here, you get to know the people who come in and you see what they're inter- ested in. At the other libraries, you're sitting in an office, push- ing papers." At the Kyle public library, Mears has an office, but the door is open and it looks straight at the front information desk. If no one happens to be staffing the desk at the moment, Mears will pop up and see what the cus- tomer needs. Mears began his work at SWT in 1976 after stints at a junior high library in Florida and a community college library in Ohio. In between those jobs, he took a Masters in library sci= ence and a Ph.D. in administra- tion and supervision, both at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. After retiring from SWT in 2000, he took a temporary posi- Kyle Librarian, pg. 2 BY BILL PETERSON Editor HAYS CISD-Two days after voters turned away the Hays CISD's $105 million bond proposal by nearly a two- to-one margin, Hays CISD Board of Trustees President Laurie Cromwell could still feel the ringing in her ears. "I think the voters spoke loudly last Saturday," Cromwell said during Monday night's school board meeting. "I think it was so loud that we have to think, 'Now what?'" Indeed, the school district is living with a different reality than it had hoped. With pas- sage of the bond, plans would have begun for two new ele- mentary schools, a new middle school and the completions of Hays and Lehman High Schools. Now, the district will plan none of those facilities, but it still has to account for contin- ued growth in the school dis- trict. The school board, which is scheduled for a retreat early next month to discuss the dis- trict's immediate future, was pulled in two different direc- tions Monday night. On one hand, they couldn't help but wonder how the vote (2,406 to 1,281) could have gone so decisively against their plan. On the other hand, they are faced with the immediate problems. Cromwell said after the meeting that the district is going to have to find ways of trimming its operations budget to make room for portable buildings that are likely to be needed. That almost certainly points to the end for some ehnancements the board has approved in hopes of improv- ing the level of education in the Hays schools. "I think we should expect energetic discussion," said school board Vice President Tim Brace. "Some of us are passionate about things that we know aren't necessary. Whatever we decide, I'll only hold a grudge for about a week" Said HCISD Trustee Chip DuPont, "Maybe there are some things we decided two years ago that aren't decided anymore. We'll look at any- thing." DuPont even said he wouldn't rule out another bond election in which the various facilities are placed on sepa- rate propositions, so case vot- ers could pick which facilities they would fund. However, Cromwell said she doesn't favor that approach. The school district has been reluc- tant to put facilities on separate propositions from fear that some facilities will be "sacri- ficed" by voters. "We need all of them," "What now?" pg. 3 BY BRENT STRONG Staff Writer HCISD-There weren't many sad kids in the area when they realized school was cancelled on Tuesday because of icy conditions. Some stu- dents slated to take the state's new standardized test on Tuesday had even more cause to celebrate. The celebration was short lived, however, because the Hays CISD rescheduled its administration of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) for today (Feb. 27). Some principals said the break was unfortunate because it could disrupt a stu- dent's mindset before the test. Other principals said the break could be positive for the students because they would be more relaxed going into the tests. One very real concern is attendance figures. Hays High School Principal Carl Hall said his attendance figures were down by seven percent on Wednesday because of the weather. Dahlstrom Middle School Principal Elsa Hinojosa expressed similar concerns. "It's a good thing we're waiting to administer the test on Thursday" Hinojosa said. "Attendance isn't as good as we'd like for it to be on a test- ing day?' TAKS Break, pg. 10 al BY BRENT STRONG Staff Writer AREA -A cold breath of winter blew through the area Monday evening, leaving slippery roads, impassable bridges and many stranded resi- dents. An unexpected deluge of sleet turned many area roadways into ice rinks and caused Kyle and Buda workers to spread sand around the cities to melt the ice. When the Hays CISD school board adjourned its Monday night meeting at Hays High School, trustees and school dis- trict staff found their cars cov- ered in ice. Some needed hot water to break the freeze and open the doors to their cars. And anyone who had something bet- ter than a soda can for scraping ice from windshields was excep- tionally well prepared. Thus ended public life in the area for almost two days. The Hays County Commissioners Court called off its Tuesday morning meeting, the Buda Planning and Zoning Commission cancelled its Hays CISD interim Superintendent Marvin Crawford, as well as other school board members, adjourned from Monday night's school board meeting to greet a winter storm that covered the parking lot with icy sleet. (photo by Bill Peterson) Tuesday night meeting and the Kyle Parks and Recreation board also cancelled a Tuesday night meeting. Hays CISD, which was sup- posed to begin administering the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Tuesday, instead called off school for the day. The district opened schools two hours late Wednesday and was to adminis- ter the TAKS Thursday. Crews in Buda, where the ice was more prominent than Kyle, used two dump trucks of sand to cover icy areas. Buda City Administrator Bob Mathis said the biggest problem spots were along the railroad where the Winter Storm, pg. 10